May 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders centerJohn Tavares
(91) checks Pittsburgh Penguins left wingChris Kunitz
(14) in the corner during the second period in game two of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The New York Islanders won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Astoria, NY – The New York Islanders enter tonight with the opportunity to take a 3-2 series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins as the two teams face off in Game 5 of their best-of-seven series at CONSOL Energy Center.
It’s well documented that the Isles haven’t won a playoff series since 1993, so motivation for the team will be high tonight in Pittsburgh; although the series can’t be won by either team tonight, it can be taken by the throat.
A Game 5 victory would go a long way towards earning the Islanders their first playoff series win in 20 years, but wouldn’t necessarily guarantee it. What the fans are hoping for tonight is to see the style of game the Islanders have come to epitomize: a grinding, scrappy, blue-collar affair, with a few highlight-worthy goals thrown in.
If the Isles return home with the chance to end the series on Saturday, I doubt there will be enough earplugs left in stores to keep the residents of Uniondale, Hempstead and East Meadow from hearing the noise at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum that day.
Then again, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind the crowd reaction should the Islanders advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s focus on the game at hand.
The Penguins have played extremely well in Pittsburgh – and nearly everywhere else – this season, but the Isles know what it takes to win on the road. The team only has to look back to Game 2 for the blueprint on how to beat the Pens in their own house.
Get excited, Isles fans. Yet another “most important game of the season” awaits your team tonight. Keep it here at EyesOnIsles for the pregame report later today. Now, onto the rest of the NHL…
Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere
The Islanders haven’t had that “we’re-just-happy-to-be-here” attitude that often accompanies teams that sneak into the postseason. Josh Bailey and the rest of the team believe that they have the skill to match up with – and beat – the top-seeded Penguins.
The fabled “Drive for Five” is alive and well on Long Island, even after almost thirty years of waiting. The fans are eager to see this team make some noise in the postseason, starting with a first-round series victory. If the Isles can pull that off, anything is possible for this team.
Looking for an Islanders viewing party for tonight’s Game 5? Look no further than Miller’s in Levittown. Meet up with the Blue and Orange army and support the team…
…and if you’re looking for something closer to the city, check out O’Keefe’s Bar in Brooklyn tonight.
Last Night In The NHL
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (BOS 3-1)
David Krejci record the second hat trick of the 2013 NHL playoffs, lifting the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday.
Krejci’s third goal of the night came at 13:06 of the extra period, sending the raucous Toronto crowd into the streets, stunned. The hundreds – if not thousands – of Leafs fans who watched the game outside Air Canada Centre on the big screen also fell silent as the Leafs took the loss.
The series shifts back to Boston on Friday, where the Bruins will look to put the wraps on the Leafs and end Toronto’s first playoff run since the 2003-04 season.
Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers (Tied 2-2)
The Washington Capitals have squandered a 2-0 series lead over the New York Rangers, losing 4-3 at Madison Square Garden last night.
The Rangers fought off another late-game surge from the Capitals, but ultimately prevailed on the strength of goals from four different players: Brad Richards, Carl Hagelin, Dan Girardi and Derek Stepan.
Hagelin was the game’s first star, scoring the opening goal and recording two assists in the Rangers’ victory.
The series between the no. 3-seeded Capitals and no. 6-seeded Rangers has opened up in the last two games: after combining to score only five goals in Games 1 and 2 of the series, the teams have put up 17 goals in Games 3 and 4.
Los Angeles Kings vs. St. Louis Blues (LA 3-2)
The St. Louis Blues forced overtime late in Game 5 of their series against the Los Angeles Kings, but couldn’t get the win. Kings defenseman Slava Voynov scored the game-winning goal on a weak wrist shot that barely left the ice, but beat Blues goalie Brian Elliott.
Down 2-1 with under a minute remaining in regulation, the Blues pulled Elliott in favor of the extra skater. Alex Pietrangelo wristed a 60-plus-footer past a screened Jonathan Quick to tie the game at 19:15 of the third period, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
A defensive breakdown in overtime for the Blues yielded a Los Angeles odd-man rush and the eventual goal by Voynov, giving the Kings a 3-2 series lead as the teams head back to Los Angeles for Game 6 Friday.
Each game in the series has been decided by a single goal, making it the most hotly contested series of the opening round, league-wide.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Anaheim Ducks (ANA 3-2)
In the third overtime game of the night on the NHL schedule, Nick Bonino scored the game-winner for the Anaheim Ducks, giving them a 3-2 series advantage over the Detroit Red Wings.
Bonino’s goal came at 1:54 of overtime off a scramble in front of Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard. It was the Ducks’ first extra-time win over the Wings in the series, the other two overtime games went to Detroit.
The Ducks are on the brink of winning just their second playoff series since the team won the Stanley Cup in 2007, but will face a tough road environment Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.
The Wings are battle-tested and have matched the Ducks nearly shift-for-shit in the series; Game 6 will be an interesting affair in Detroit.
Bruins vs. Maple Leafs game highlights…
Capitals vs. Rangers game highlights…
Kings vs. Blues game highlights…
Red Wings vs. Ducks game highlights…
As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your Isles and NHL playoff coverage. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff.